And if you’re still in the market for a TV that can boost your sports-watching experience to the next level but unsure of which sets to zero in on, here are five issues that you should make sure to avoid before going through the checkout line with your new purchase.
If you’re dealing with motion blur, it refers to images on the screen that appear fuzzy and largely out of focus. This issue typically occurs when there are fast-moving images, which can happen quite often during the course of an NFL or MLB game. With this in mind, try to pinpoint TVs that have built-in settings that have the ability to reduce motion blur.
To achieve an awesome sports-watching experience, you need to make sure that the set has low stutter. This particular issue refers to the way a static image can sometimes appear to be frozen on the screen in between frame transitions, which can create the annoyance of having a slight pause within an action sequence. For example, you might hear the crowd cheering a touchdown pass, but on the screen the ball is still in the air.
Judder refers to jerky movements on the screen, which often occurs when motion interpolation of the TV can’t keep pace with the signal coming into the box. It is an issue that’s not often conspicuous these days because many modern sets have 3:2 pulldown to match the frames coming in through the signal with the frames displayed on the TV.
Input lag refers to the amount of time that it takes between a picture being generated by a source and that image appearing on the screen. This problem can definitely affect the way you watch sports. In the worst case, excessive input lag can cause lip-sync issues, but it’s more pronounced for gamers who rely on every millisecond when trying to defeat their opponents.
Refresh rate refers to how many times per second the image on the screen refreshes. If a TV boasts a high refresh rate, it is better suited to handle fast motion, creating a smoother picture with less blurring effects. Most TVs these days refresh at 60Hz, but some higher-end models at 120Hz. Be aware that some manufacturers use different technologies, such as the soap-opera effect and black-frame insertion, to claim a higher refresh rate.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn. Image: Reuters